Above Home, Beyond the Sea
For solo piano
Duration: 7 minutes
Commissioned by Annie Jeng
Above Home, Beyond the Sea, commissioned by pianist Annie Jeng, is deeply rooted in personal narratives and the rich cultural heritage of a famous Chinese folk song, "Ocean, My Mother." This piece is not just a musical composition; it is a touching tribute, a memory encapsulated in melody, and a bridge connecting cultural identities.
Annie, a child of immigrant parents from Taiwan, spent her formative years navigating the complexities of her cultural heritage. Simultaneously grounded in the American life she lived and the Chinese traditions her family practiced, music was a unifying constant, especially the song "Da Hai," a recurring feature in her mother's choir, the Glorystar Children's Chorus.
This piece holds a particular poignancy for Annie. It is an homage to a beloved family friend, a 'second mother,' who tragically lost her life. This woman's love for "Da Hai" was profound, and the song became a symbol of her passion for music and her endearing nature.
In Above Home, Beyond the Sea, the intent was not only to expand upon the original song but also to weave the complex tapestry of emotions Annie's story evoked. Nostalgia, grief, anger, and bittersweet moments are all captured within the notes, reflecting the myriad feelings associated with loss, memory, and cultural identity.
This piece was premiered by Annie Jeng at the University of Michigan on Feb. 26, 2019, as part of her DMA degree requirements.